Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

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Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 16th, 2018, 3:29 pm 

Russian_hackers.jpeg

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.

The lead defendant is the “Internet Research Agency,” known as Russia’s “troll farm.” They are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

“Some Defendants, posing as US persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign,” the criminal complaint claims. The document also names specific fake groups or events created by the Russian nationals, like “United Muslims of America,” “Being Patriotic,” “Florida Goes Trump!,” which were previously revealed as trolls by The Daily Beast.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/mueller-indicts-13-russian-election-trolls

The full list of indictments issued by DOJ can be found here:
https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby zetreque on February 16th, 2018, 4:01 pm 

Maybe off topic... I was curious this morning if these contracts that women apparently are held under to prevent them to talk about their affairs with the president are conflicting with national security in any way.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby Serpent on February 16th, 2018, 5:58 pm 

zetreque » February 16th, 2018, 3:01 pm wrote:Maybe off topic... I was curious this morning if these contracts that women apparently are held under to prevent them to talk about their affairs with the president are conflicting with national security in any way.


There could be a connection, if a foreign interest group had used women to spy on the president, or any US official, to acquire privileged information, or to exert influence on their decisions that bear on foreign policy and trade relations. But, in that case, I believe testimony before a properly constituted legal body would tru--- I mean override any such contractual agreements. Maybe they would have to give their evidence in camera.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 16th, 2018, 6:02 pm 

A California man has pleaded guilty to identity fraud as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Richard Pinedo, of Santa Paula, ran an online service called Auction Essistance, through which he bought and sold bank account numbers that would help users circumvent security measures of digital payment companies. Pinedo transfered, possessed and used the identities of other people in connection with unlawful activity, according to a statement of the offense. He pleaded guilty on February 12, according to court documents.

Pinedo faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the plea agreement. It said he has no criminal history and that he agrees to cooperate with Mueller's office.

http://www.newsweek.com/who-richard-pinedo-mueller-defendant-guilty-809783

This is the first known instance of a US citizen being charged and pleading guilty to participating in the Russian criminal conspiracy to subvert the 2016 US presidential election.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby Braininvat on February 16th, 2018, 6:34 pm 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... story.html

This may put a damper on all those "it's a hoax" twits. Sad.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 17th, 2018, 7:22 am 

Page 17 of the 37 page indictment presented yesterday by the DOJ includes this paragraph:
43. By 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used their fictitious online personas to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.
Case 1:18-cr-00032-DLF Document 1 Filed 02/16/18 Page 17 of 37

In other words, not only did Donald Trump fail to win the 2016 Presidential election on his own merits, he also probably wouldn't have won the Republican primaries against Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz either, without covert Russian help.

The very next page of the indictment contains this paragraph (46a)
a. On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased an advertisement to promote a post on the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account “Blacktivist” that read in part: “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”
Case 1:18-cr-00032-DLF Document 1 Filed 02/16/18 Page 18 of 37

Once again this confirms a very specific claim made in the disputed Steele dossier that became public in January 2017 (p.15)
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Stein_composite.png
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby jocular on February 17th, 2018, 7:51 am 

Does Trump's "no collusion" slant hold water or does a "reckless endangerment" charge take over?

He and his followers on must have/should have/did actually realized that they were dealiing with an unfriendly foreign state and decided to ignore the likely consequences since they seemed to be friendly towards them and unfriendly to their political opponents ?

If though there is really no indirect link from the Russian operation through to the Trump campaign then is naivety (and greed ,of course) all that they can be held against them?

Should that naivety /greed be enough to remove him from office ?(in my book ,morally yes but practically difficult)

Not saying that a direct link may not be forthcoming....
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 17th, 2018, 8:30 am 

One simple answer to some of these questions would be to note that President Trump has flatly refused to implement a bill passed by Congress last autumn that applies severe extra sanctions to Russia as punishment for their attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential elections (as documented by 17 different USIC agencies), and for their ongoing aggression in east Ukraine.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-russia-sanctions-trump-no-new-congress-law-election-hacking-intervention-putin-kremlin-a8184866.html

The bill which was passed 98-2 in the Senate and which received overwhelming support in the House as well, had a deadline of Monday 29 January 2018 for implementation. Donald Trump simply ignored that deadline and has consistently refused to sign the bill into law ever since.

There are various ways of interpreting this scenario. Some might call it 'donor maintenance'. In the light of these latest DOJ indictments, Donald Trump has no-one else but himself to blame if his ongoing refusal to sign the Russian sanctions bill into law while simultaneously yelling "No Collusion!" simply reinforces the perception that he is nothing but a Russian sock-puppet.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby Serpent on February 17th, 2018, 10:22 am 

jocular » February 17th, 2018, 6:51 am wrote:
He and his followers on must have/should have/did actually realized that they were dealiing with an unfriendly foreign state and decided to ignore the likely consequences since they seemed to be friendly towards them and unfriendly to their political opponents ?
.

He was running for the highest, most responsible public office in the land. He was telling the entire country: "Vote for me; I can fix everything that's wrong, both domestic and international; I know how to make America great again."
Failing to understand collusion; failing to recognize a long-standing international rival; failing to consider the diverging interests of that foreign state and his own; failing to see the difference between greedy corruption and treasonous corruption - any one of these should have disqualified him from consideration.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby BadgerJelly on February 18th, 2018, 2:34 am 

"News" ?

This just in ... Trump is the antichrist and was seen last night eating children in the park.

Breaking News! Foreign governments hire people to start online discussion and whip up polarization in the political sphere.

My question is ... Are Toucana and Zeq employed by the US government?
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby zetreque on February 18th, 2018, 2:40 am 

All one needs to understand is that there are no rules in business except make money and usually that's money out of personal greed. And Chump as a businessman is a pro at saying whatever needs to be said to increase his personal wealth and status.
How on Earth anyone could vote for such a person or defend one as president knowing any history or understanding of the world I have no idea.

This just in, Republicans blame Obama

This just in, Trump blames Hillary colluded with Russia in the face of evidence showing Russia disenfranchised Hillary during the election.

Somewhere hackers are laughing their ass off at the conspiracies and insanity that dumb humans are taking part in around the world over all of this.

Great piece in the NYT opinion theorizing that they basically achieved what they set out to do. Disrupt America and cause mistrust by playing on their stupidity.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby wolfhnd on February 18th, 2018, 2:46 am 

What a waste of money Russians have done worse for a hundred years without anyone hardly noticing.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 18th, 2018, 3:32 am 

Gerasimov.jpg
Valery Gerasimov

This gentleman is Valery Gerasimov (Вале́рий Васи́льевич Гера́симов). He is the current Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia and first Deputy Defence Minister, a position similar to that of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff within the US Pentagon.

In 2013 he delivered a keynote speech about ‘Hybrid Warfare’ which received wide attention in military circles and was widely recirculated as an article that has become known as ‘The Gerasimov Doctrine’. Here is one introduction to it by Molly K. Mckew which is well worth reading.

The article is considered by many to be the most useful articulation of Russia’s modern strategy, a vision of total warfare that places politics and war within the same spectrum of activities—philosophically, but also logistically. The approach is guerrilla, and waged on all fronts with a range of actors and tools—for example, hackers, media, businessmen, leaks and, yes, fake news, as well as conventional and asymmetric military means. Thanks to the internet and social media, the kinds of operations Soviet psy-ops teams once could only fantasize about—upending the domestic affairs of nations with information alone—are now plausible. The Gerasimov Doctrine builds a framework for these new tools, and declares that non-military tactics are not auxiliary to the use of force but the preferred way to win. That they are, in fact, the actual war. Chaos is the strategy the Kremlin pursues: Gerasimov specifies that the objective is to achieve an environment of permanent unrest and conflict within an enemy state.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/09/05/gerasimov-doctrine-russia-foreign-policy-215538

The conclusion reached is quite chilling

Russia might not have hacked American voting machines, but by selectively amplifying targeted disinformation and misinformation on social media—sometimes using materials acquired by hacking—and forging de facto information alliances with certain groups in the United States, it arguably won a significant battle without most Americans realizing it ever took place. The U.S. electoral system is the heart of the world’s most powerful democracy, and now—thanks to Russian actions—we’re locked in a national argument over its legitimacy. We’re at war with ourselves, and the enemy never fired a physical shot.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby BadgerJelly on February 18th, 2018, 4:35 am 

Quite chilling?

Are you trying to say the US has not, and is not, doing the very same thing in other countries around the world right now? It's just those immoral Russians eh?

Wake up!
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 18th, 2018, 5:02 am 

TS_box.jpeg

Badger_Jelly - I was born in 1953 and have lived through six decades of the Cold War.

I can't sit down and play a modern board game like Twilight Struggle without recalling first-hand memories of most of the historical events enacted on all three decks of game cards in TS, and so have few illusions about what the CIA has been up to since it was created in 1947.

To answer your earlier ad hominem, no I am not employed by the US government. I am British and have lived and worked in UK all my life. I recently retired from work which means I happen to have a little more time to think and write about what is happening in the world.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby jocular on February 18th, 2018, 6:51 am 

So what should be the response to a Gerasimov doctrine ?

How does one protect democratic systems from external/internal attack?

Compulsory voting? Extra resources devoted to combating interference?

Stricter penalties for "unwitting dupes"?

Retaliation? What sort?

Show trials? Hollywood films?

Changes to the voting systems?(mandatory paper trails a bit like the television reviews in sporting events that would be the final word)

This seems like asymmetric warfare if unfriendly governments secret services can mount operations at such little cost(they will surely "improve" as they go along and perhaps be better able to cover their tracks)
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby Braininvat on February 18th, 2018, 12:09 pm 

It's helpful to read the indictment to get a clearer sense of the methods used, and to what degree they might influence certain voting blocs. For example....

At paragraphs 63 and 64, the indictment notes that in June of 2016, the defendants and their co-conspirators sought to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment and voters by placing ads on Facebook promoting a "Support Hillary. Save American Muslims" rally. They carefully used some of their millions in July of that year to produce a poster embossed with a quote they falsely attributed to Hillary Clinton, "I think Sharia Law will be a powerful new direction of freedom." The phony quote was in wide circulation during the presidential campaign.

At paragraph 46...

"In or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their ORGANIZATION-controlled personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate.

"a. On or about October 16, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account 'Woke Blacks' to post the following message: [A] particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we'd surely be better off without voting AT ALL.

b. On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased an advertisement to promote a post on the ORGANIZATION-controlled Instagram account 'Blacktivist' that read in part: 'Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it's not a wasted vote."

There is no way to quantify the effects of these tactics (and many others --again, it's worth reading to understand how this kind of electoral interference works around the globe), but the razor thin margins in states like Pennsylvania that decided that electoral result (Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million) would suggest that such tactics could have leverage even with small numbers of voters in key areas. Whatever one's partisan position, this sort of foreign influence should raise alarms about the integrity of our democratic process.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby Braininvat on February 18th, 2018, 12:22 pm 

jocular » February 18th, 2018, 3:51 am wrote:So what should be the response to a Gerasimov doctrine ?


How does one protect democratic systems from external/internal attack?


Compulsory voting? Extra resources devoted to combating interference?

Stricter penalties for "unwitting dupes"?

Retaliation? What sort?

Show trials? Hollywood films?

Changes to the voting systems?(mandatory paper trails a bit like the television reviews in sporting events that would be the final word)

This seems like asymmetric warfare if unfriendly governments secret services can mount operations at such little cost(they will surely "improve" as they go along and perhaps be better able to cover their tracks)


Voter awareness, through a free press, maximum transparency in our government operations to counter such attacks, and cultural promotion of fact-checking and critical thinking. Stronger libel and slander laws would help, too. Candidates shouldn't have to drain their energy and resources on countering garbage that is essentially felonious slander. I have followed rightwing memes out in the blogosphere and can say with some confidence that the Sharia law thing and the "Pizzagate" hoax were swallowed whole by many voters. And, as we've seen in a thread here, so was the long -discredited Uranium One mythology.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby Serpent on February 18th, 2018, 1:42 pm 

jocular » February 18th, 2018, 5:51 am wrote:
How does one protect democratic systems from external/internal attack?


1 throw all the non-elected elements out of government:
- appointment to administrative posts, cabinet, heads of key agencies , presidential advisors and spokesmen all to be picked only from the elected representatives (not family, political hacks or financial backers)
- no lobbies

2. remove money from the electoral process
- no advertising, no "war chest" , no fundraising or commercial campaigning
- just equal time on public platforms and personal appearances at town halls and school auditoriums (real ones, not rented private venues)
- free to the public, with a non-partisan moderator, recorded for universal access

3. Keep one television network and one national grid of radio stations and one website entirely neutral: an arms-length NGO: a publicly funded but independent source of political information, which would broadcast all election coverage, party platforms (with background information) candidates' career and voting histories, speeches and interviews. Make these platforms available to all parties - all 57 parties, not just the two fat, rich ones.
These same media outlets could broadcast local political news and any kind of information in the public interest: report on government agencies - their responsibilities, budgets, top staff, problems, activities and performance - economic matters, employer-labour union issues, social concerns, education, transportation, infrastructure, welfare, etc. (With an adequate but not 'celebrity' remuneration structure, I guarantee this network would attract the ablest journalists.)

4. Clean up the process of candidate selection (one party member, one vote) and representation (one citizen, one vote) no delegates, no exceptions

5. A single consistent federal standard of district boundaries, voting facilities, independent oversight, voter registration and assured access, methods and counting, with paper ballots, properly preserved and secured for recount.



Couldn't happen!
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby zetreque on February 18th, 2018, 3:31 pm 

zetreque » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:40 pm wrote:Somewhere hackers are laughing their ass off at the conspiracies and insanity that dumb humans are taking part in around the world over all of this.


Trump: "They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America" at 5:11am this morning (whatever time zone that is in).

Did someone copy me? lol
Or maybe I do work for the govt and I actually am Trump wasting my time on this bullshit rather than taking seriously the roll which affects the present and future of billions of lives, humans, plants and animals around a planet.

Seriously though, anyone who actually "reads" can see how ridiculous and evil the man is. I still don't understand why people defend him or support him as a leader of "the free world" given his history and present. And WITHOUT bringing up any excuses about how bad other people are. That's not the point. The point is NOW and reality. People waste their lives away arguing about what was or could have been rather than recognizing current evil.

This just in, Trump praises his own candidacy in the face of school mass shooting.
This just in, Trump praises himself and blames Obama rather than taking Russian cyber-threats seriously or doing something about it like he blames Obama for not doing.

PS: dissing your own people by telling them to get smart isn't very leadershiply or smart either if your goal is to even have the image of greatness.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby BadgerJelly on February 19th, 2018, 1:01 am 

Toucan -

It was tongue in cheek. I was pointing out that what you're doing here is pretty much the same as what the Russians are being accused of regarding social media.

What you're doing is not illegal.

I am curious (as I posted a while ago in thread "Is Russia really that bad?") to hear how big an influence your personal experience has had on your current view of Russia. In that thread I made the proposition that maybe the older generations of the US are still hung up over the USSR and that their view of Russia today is coloured, in part, by old grievances.

Do you think this plays a part in the current climate in the US? I think it is worth considering as I am 40 now and I remember seeing a lot of anti-Soviet news and remember the fall of the Berlin wall - during that time the media was peppered with anti-Russian sentiments.

What d ya thunk?
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 19th, 2018, 6:39 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:
It was tongue in cheek. I was pointing out that what you're doing here is pretty much the same as what the Russians are being accused of regarding social media.

Really ?

I am not using multiple false identities and forged credentials to evade forum security protocols. Neither am I using stolen bank account details or deceptive proxies to spread flagrant lies or criminal slanders about other participants.

I don’t really like this type of Suggestio Falsi when dealing with a topic as serious as this one is.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby BadgerJelly on February 19th, 2018, 8:18 am 

Okay, how about what I said about the past baggage of the anti-Soviet views being propelled forward to part of today's generation (like myself.)

Maybe you don't consider it worth commenting on? It was put forward in the thread mentioned, so maybe best to reply there is you feel I am belittling the seriousness of the crimes committed. I am interested what kind of weight you put behind the idea of old grudges being pasted onto today's outlook?
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby Braininvat on February 19th, 2018, 10:50 am 

Badger, have you followed the doings of the Putin regime in recent years? I don't think the distrust and dislike of Putin, for many Americans, is based on old grudges.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby BadgerJelly on February 20th, 2018, 12:47 am 

Biv -

I was suggesting that it may have a bigger impact than we give credit to. That is all. I am neither saying Trumo is the best president ever nor saying Putin is somehow a man whose actions we should mirror.

I am curious about the degree of wilfull blindness, lack of comparison and nuances involved that alter our view of the reality; especially if we've a history of being fed xenophobic sentiments via propaganda.

Also, I don't believe forna second that one man has complete dominion over thir nation (big influence in some cases, but they still have to tread carefully to avoid being ousted.) Saddam and Gaddafi were not exactly people to idolize, yet there would likely have been less death and killing in the middle east if western powers hadn't been playing their own games.

Don't take a question I pose as an all or nothing statement. I am skeptical when it comes to politics and I've seen how lies become truths even to the liar.
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Re: Mueller 'Witch-hunt' Indicts Coven Of Russians

Postby toucana on February 20th, 2018, 3:09 pm 

CNN are reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has now charged a US attorney who worked with former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and assistant Rick Gates with lying to investigators, and with concealing emails.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/20/politics/robert-mueller-rick-gates/index.html

According to the report, Alex Van Der Zwan is expected to plead guilty on Tuesday afternoon, making him the fourth person to do so to date.

Van Der Zwaan had previously worked with international law firm Skadden Arps who had been hired with Manafort’s help in 2012 to assist the Ukrainian Minister of Justice in preparing a report that whitewashed the illegal arrest and imprisonment of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Mueller’s investigators interviewed Van Der Zwan three days after Manafort and Gates were first arrested last autumn. It was during that interview that he apparently lied about the nature and timing of his contacts with Gates, and an un-named third party in September 2016 during the US presidential campaign. He also concealed and deleted relevant emails.

The most interesting detail is that Alex Van Der Zwan is the son-in-law of Russian billionaire German Kahn who is one of the most influential business oligarchs in Russia. Kahn also co-founded the Russian Alfa Bank which was the subject of a 2016 FISA warrant and the target of intense scrutiny by the FBI.

US counterintelligence investigators believe that Alfa Bank was part of a multi-server hook-up with Trump Tower and Spectrum Health in Michigan (owned by the family of education Secretary Betsy Devos) that was involved in clandestine data transfers during the autumn of 2016.

There appears to be a connection between this development and another story also broken today by Buzz Feed News:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasonleopold/manafort-under-scrutiny-for-40-million-in-suspicious?utm_term=.xvgeKv5dj#.ri4wRZyqD

This describes how Robert Mueller and his team reactivated an earlier 2014 investigation by the FBI into international money laundering by the Ukrainian Yanukovych regime.

With the help of new information about the missing billions from Ukranian rebels who seized banking records when the previous regime fell, and by matching that data with 314(a) reports by US banks and financial institutions, investigators have now linked Manafort and his accomplices to at least $40 million worth of laundered money.

The email records also link Paul Manafort to a Russian army-trained linguist called Konstantin Kilimnik with close contacts to Putin’s inner circle of oligarchs to whom Manfort offered ‘briefings’ during the 2016 US presidential election.
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